The People's Library Project is a collaborative, sustainable, and interactive community art project spearheaded by Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist. The project opening is this Friday evening, and we hope you will join us to take part and protect our histories.
From the project website (http://www.nomovement.com/People-s-LIbrary):
"The People's Library* is an ongoing collaborative project featuring libraries designed, built and authored by community members. The project transforms and re-purposes discarded books into blank canvasses for the production and exchange of local histories.
In Richmond, VA, at the Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library, a thousand blank books are being created for anyone in the community to check out, bring home, fill with their histories and bring back to the library to be included in the permanent collection. The resulting installation includes a thousand micro-monuments, becomes the real and symbolic meeting place for alienated publics, and offers sustainable, collective and critical alternatives for the form and function of public art.
While in some instances, public spaces and institutions have invited patron participation, it is often through internet based means. People's Library champions collective production as an avenue for face to face interaction between diverse publics. The project reflects the histories, needs, desires of local residents, and re-interprets public institutions as a space for production, meditation, and alternative education.
Individuals in youth programs at each library will co-facilitate a series of workshops. At each workshop, which are free and open to the public, participants will complete various tasks, engage in conversation about contemporary art, and learn functional creative skills[.]"
I had the pleasure of being present at one of the paper-making workshops with Mark and Courtney, and was impressed with their skill in working with young people. So many pages were made, everybody had fun and got their hands dirty (almost everybody that is- I didn't want to stain my clothes, so I just took pictures! Those are below).
Courtney and Mark were natural teachers. I have witnessed their ability to articulate their project and its goals to children and adults alike, and this clarity and ease of expression, I think, underscores their passion and commitment to this project and the Richmond community.
So again - please join us this Friday 9/20 for the opening of the People's Library Project. And stay tuned for more People's Library programming this November at Richmond Public Library!